Madhva leader honors ISKCON sannyasi
3 January Udupi, Karnataka: On the occasion of the fifty-second Vyasa-puja of His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami, His Holiness Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji, head of Puthige MaTha, Krsna MaTha, Udupi honored him at a function held at Udupi. Puthige MaTha, one of the eight main maThas at Udupi (established by Sripada Madhvacarya himself) is currently in charge of the worship (called paryaya) of Lord Krsna at Udupi. In his welcome address, Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji said that Krsna means “attractive” and so He attracts devotees and devotees in turn attract Him. Swamiji glorified Bhakti Vikasa Swami by mentioning that he has attracted so many devotees and brought them to the holy place.
Temple Coming Up
Sedona, Arizona: A new project is coming up that includes an authentic temple, performing arts center, natural food restaurant, library, museum and 70 guest house suites. It will also contain an educational center which teaches Vedic music, dance, astrology, science, arts, medicine, yoga, and meditation.
New Temple Opens in Aravade
7 February, Aravade, Maharashtra: Sri Sri Radha-Gopala temple was opened on the auspicious occasion of Sri Nityananda Trayodasi.
Aravade is the birth place of His Holiness Lokanatha Swami.
About 6000 devotees attended the three day festival with many senior ISKCON leaders gracing the occasion.
Penang, Malaysia: 4,000 people participated during the Ratha-yatra here. There were also a kollatam (stick dancing) performance, a lion dance, and Indian cultural dances at the procession. A fireworks display finished off the evening.
Klang, Malaysia: The Ratha-yatra carts were accompanied by two other chariots carrying Deities of Radha-Krsna and billboards of Krsna ten incarnations. Cultural programs included a special program by a group of thirty children. There are more than twenty Ratha-yatra processions celebrated throughout Malaysia.
Ratha-yatras were also held in Chennai, Belgaum, and Batala, Punjab in India.
18 December, New Delhi: One thousand prisoners, aged between fourteen and twenty-five, attended the program organized by ISKCON New Delhi at Tihar Jail, the largest jail in South Asia.
4 January, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal: Devotees of ISKCON Siliguri, West Bengal organized a program in Central Jail, Jalpaiguri. About one thousand prisoners participated. The district Judge, The President of Bar Association, and other Senior Officers were also present. Copies of Bhagavad-gita were distributed to the prisoners and officers of both the jails, and some were kept in jail’s library.
Caring for Animals
19-21 January, Guwahati, Assam: Hrimati Devi Dasi was invited to represent ISKCON Mayapur and MAP (Mayapur Animal protection team) to present a paper on ISKCON’S Elephant Management Practices in Mayapur at the “National Symposium for Elephant Health care and Management Practices”, held at Guwhati. It was organized and sponsored by the Directorate of Project Elephant, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.
The paper was extremely well received. Mr. A. N. Prasad, IGF and Director of “Project Elephant of India” said that the author had presented a new approach to elephant care, by quoting the Bhagavad-gita and pointing out that that we are all spiritual souls inside different bodies, and thus elephants need to be treated with respect and cared for with love. “This is our Indian culture” he said, “and we have forgotten it and now a German lady goes up on the stage and reminds us about our forgotten culture.”
ISKCON Mayapur hosts URI global assembly
December: ISKCON Mayapur hosted URI (United Religions Initiative), a part of United Nation’s peace-work program. The event brought together in one unprecedented grassroots global gathering some 200 global interfaith leaders and around 100 interfaith youth delegates representing diverse religions from 44 countries.
Reports by by Basu Ghosa Dasa, Nisha Chopada, Jeyanthy Pillai, and Ananda Vardhana Dasa